Every business has a backstory—a reason the entrepreneurs decided to create a product, develop a service or open the front doors. For Emily Sherry and Anthony Heaney, the backstory of Provisions, their Woodstock-based restaurant, started when they were kids and, over the years, became about more than just opening a restaurant. It also became a mission to feed a community.
The co-owners met in elementary school and became fast friends before graduating and losing touch. Six years ago, they reconnected online when both were in the process of changing careers. “I was running a butcher shop in Redding, Pennsylvania and Anthony had been a chef and baker for 25 years,” said 47-year-old Sherry, a Woodstock resident. “I brought him to Pennsylvania to train him as a butcher so that we could open our own business together.”
Heaney said that opening Provisions together was an eventuality. “We both ran businesses for other people and were really instrumental in their success so it was time to try to actualize something on our own,” said the 45-year-old Woodstock resident.
Five years ago, they opened the doors to Provisions, a 400 sq.-ft sandwich shop on Tinker Street. “It was really all take-out, but the space precluded us from having a really extensive menu,” said Heaney.
Then, a year and a half ago, when an opportunity opened up to expand their restaurant to their current location on Mill Hill Road on the Woodstock Golf Club, which allowed them to create a full catering service too, they couldn’t pass it up.
The Provisions menu includes lip-smacking starters, such as battered cauliflower and sriracha aioli dipping sauce and fried edamame dumplings with soy ginger dipping sauce. There are a variety of tasty sandwiches sourced locally, such as the Annie Oakley, a roasted chicken sandwich topped with Heaney’s spicy wing sauce and blue cheese crema and the Boss Hog, pulled pork in a house made bourbon barbecue sauce topped with red cabbage slaw. There’s the That’s My Jam panini made with goat cheese and lemon apricot jam and the Robert Plant grilled eggplant panini just to name a few.
“We call our food rustic comfort,” said Sherry. “The goal is to provide people with food that we put a lot of love and care into. It’s also about putting flavors together in a balanced way that is hearty and comforting and evocative of your food memories. The food sounds different than maybe what you've tried before, but when you taste it, it will remind you of all of the best food that you've ever had.”
Just some of their personal touches include Heaney’s handmade mozzarella and Emily’s homemade sauerkraut. “We take high-quality handmade ingredients and turn them into something familiar,” said Heaney. “We make our own breakfast sausages and spend a lot of time on the saucing that we do by hand. These are all recipes that either one of us developed or we developed together.”
As they business continued to grow, they made sure to not just feed those who walked through the front door, but to also feed those who are food insecure, something the pair is all too familiar with. “Food security means different things to different people,” said Sherry. “For me, it meant growing up without necessarily knowing that I was going to have three meals a day. It also meant not always having the nutrition that you would like your family to have.”
“I had three brothers and sisters and sometimes food insecurity meant that somebody else ate all the marshmallows out of the Lucky Charms and you just got a box full of luck or sometimes you had to eat mayonnaise sandwiches,” he said. “If you had a similar upbringing, you would know the same kind of food that we all grew up eating and it wasn't fancy. It was nourishing comfort food.”
To help feed more people in the community, Heaney and Sherry opened a 501(c)(3) community kitchen called The Table at Woodstock and three times a week feed approximately 70 people.
They do all of the cooking at the restaurant and the fundraising.
“It allows us to really give back to our community and to be part of the solution,” said Sherry, who also credits their volunteers and board members. “We may not have a lot of money because we are not a big business, but we have access to food and for us food is bountiful. If everybody just did what they could do, the world would be a completely different place.”
Provisions Kitchen & Catering, a restaurant at Woodstock Golf Club, is located at 114 Mill Hill Road Woodstock, NY 12498. The restaurant is open Thursday through Sunday, 11:30 am. - 4 p.m. and on Monday from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. For more information, visit https://provisionswoodstock.com/